Ethical Decision Making

ScenarioAnna is a new licensed clinical social worker who has worked for a university counseling center for two months. Thomas is a student who was referred to her at the beginning of the semester for anxiety and depression. Anna has been seeing Thomas once a week. In addition, he checks in with her through e-mail when he becomes anxious. Anna typically responds to his e-mail during her office hours by assuring him and reminding him of their upcoming appointment. Thomas’s e-mails and phone calls have recently increased due to midterms over the next couple of weeks. On Monday Thomas left a phone message wanting to talk to Anna. He reported that he needed to talk to her sooner than their Thursday scheduled meeting but did not state why. Anna noticed that he sounded upset and slurred his words.Anna saw Dr. Stance during lunch in the busy student center, Anna knows Dr. Stance is one of Thomas’s favorite professors. Anna shared with Dr. Stance that she was worried about Thomas because she had a strange phone call and stated that he sounded impaired. Anna asked Dr. Stance if Thomas had been in class and if he had been acting strange. Anna did not document the e-mail or the conversation with Dr. Stance as she was going to include these conversations within her weekly clinical note.On Wednesday Thomas responded to Anna’s e-mail at 8 p.m., stating that someone stole his medication and he did not feel capable of going to class in fear of hurting himself or someone else.He also assured Anna that if he needed to call 911 on his behalf that he would and that she did not need to worry about him. Anna did not look at her e-mail on Wednesday night as she was not feeling well and decided to call in sick on Thursday.You are Anna’s supervisor and covering Anna’s clients for the day on Thursday. Thomas does not come in for his appointment.For this discussion:• Consider ethical decision making in relation to self-determination and well-being based on Reamer’s framework.• Identify one of the many potential ethical dilemmas within this case and discuss why you feel it is an ethical dilemma.• Identify two standards provided through the NASW standards readings that you could apply to this situation to assist in the ethical decision-making process.• Discuss how each standard applies to this case.

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